That Which Must be Written

Dont mind the Stoic mood.

Friday, July 24, 2009


The Placebo Postulate

I was watching Ramachandran's talk the other day and when he came down to the part of his lecture where the mind learned or unlearned past "habits" eg - a paralysed phantom limb, it resonated with past learnings/unlearnings I had experienced. For eg - My first face punch or my first kiss. I remember both instances were frought with great tension and shivers but after the event happened I felt this great elation like the vanishing of a border I had always wanted to pass.

Right now I am trying to kick my smoking habit. The process of unlearning this habit is as experience dictates more of a mind exercise than a body exercise. When I went to Kuwait during my summer holidays, the choice always was between walking under the glare of a 50+ degree desert sun all the way to the only shop in my area that sold loose cigarettes vs the experience of smoking a cigarette. The first few tries would be the great "Lawrence in Arabia" treks to the cigarette store coupled with a feeling of nausea that comes with not smoking for a long time and the confusion between my mind and body as to the point of the trip. After sometime the decision would be made looking out of the window into the flaming desert from the confines of my air conditioned flat and deciding that the trip was not worth it.

Habits - unlearning and learning habits. One person I really admire is Caesar Milan. Some key phrases used in the video are "calm assertive","pack leader"," dont take it personally" and "calm submissive". The mind is like the dog and the self needs to be the pack leader. I have come to realise in my meditations is that mind is an organic being almost exclusive to the self. Sometimes it works for the self and at other times it works against the self mostly because it doesnt know any better. Most of us are servants to our minds when the self needs to be the pack leader for the self to be successful.

Now according to Caesar Milan the self needs to be calm and assertive when the mind goes astray. Every level of defiance or suffering that is unleashed by the mind must be met by an equally strong reaction. It must happen at a natural pace too. This is where ""Gnothi Seauton" comes in aka Know thy self. In this postulate it is more Know thy mind. How it acts. How it reacts. What is the natural method of bringing it down to "calm submissive".

One other habit I am trying to incorporate into my life is meditating. From a minimum of 2 minutes to a maximum of 20 minutes the endeavours are sporadic and unconstructive as of yet. Why do we same OM when we meditate? Because it brings the mind back down to the calm submissive state everytime it starts attacking the cage.
Now why did I call this post "The Placebo Postulate"? Because if you did go to a western counsellor to discuss this issue you would get a bunch of pills that will tweak your body and then your self and finally your mind. You dont need to tweak either your body or your self. The issue is in the mind and thats what needs to be changed. The mind is not very intelligent as you can see from Ramachandran's lecture and Milan's video. The key to controlling it is a bunch of illusions that when well placed(a mirror or a physical response) can control it and tame it.

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